SEE THE BOOK "
THE EXPERTS SPEAK", BY CERF/NAVASKY, PANTHEON 1984, FOR MORE LIKE THESE.
"..so many centuries after the Creation it is unlikely that anyone could find hitherto unknown lands of any value." - committee advising Ferdinand and Isabella regarding Columbus' proposal, 1486 "I would sooner believe that two Yankee professors lied, than that stones fell from the sky" - Thomas Jefferson, 1807 on hearing an eyewitness report of falling meteorites. "Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy." - Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859. "Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction." - Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872 "The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon." - Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873. "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." - Western Union internal memo, 1876. I'VE HEARD ONE REPORT THAT THIS QUOTE WAS A HOAX, THE INTERNAL MEMO WAS A RECENT FORGERY "Such startling announcements as these should be deprecated as being unworthy of science and mischievious to to its true progress" - Sir William Siemens, 1880, on Edison's announcement of a sucessful light bulb. "We are probably nearing the limit of all we can know about astronomy." - Simon Newcomb, astronomer, 1888 "Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever." - Thomas Edison, 1889 "Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899. NO, THIS WAS A MISQUOTE, HE NEVER SAID THIS. SKEPTICAL INQUIRER EVEN DEBUNKED THIS. "The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are now so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of new discoveries is exceedingly remote.... Our future discoveries must be looked for in the sixth place of decimals." - physicist Albert. A. Michelson, 1894 "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895. "It is apparent to me that the possibilities of the aeroplane, which two or three years ago were thought to hold the solution to the [flying machine] problem, have been exhausted, and that we must turn elsewhere." - Thomas Edison, 1895 "The demonstration that no possible combination of known substances, known forms of machinery, and known forms of force can be united in a practicable machine by which men shall fly for long distances through the air, seems to the writer as complete as it is possible for the demonstration of any physical fact to be." - astronomer S. Newcomb, 1906 "Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." - Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre. "Caterpillar landships are idiotic and useless. Those officers and men are wasting their time and are not pulling their proper weight in the war" - Fourth Lord of the British Admiralty, 1915, in regards to use of tanks in war. "Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools." - 1921 New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard's revolutionary rocket work. "The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" - David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s. "All a trick." "A Mere Mountebank." "Absolute swindler." "Doesn't know what he's about." "What's the good of it?" "What useful purpose will it serve?" - Members of Britain's Royal Society, 1926, after a demonstration of television. "This foolish idea of shooting at the moon is an example of the absurd lengths to which vicious specialisation will carry scientists." -A.W. Bickerton, physicist, NZ, 1926 "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" - H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927. "Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." - Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929. "There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will." -- Albert Einstein, 1932 "The energy produced by the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine" - Ernst Rutherford, 1933 "The whole procedure [of shooting rockets into space]...presents difficulties of so fundamental a nature, that we are forced to dismiss the notion as essentially impracticable, in spite of the author's insistent appeal to put aside prejudice and to recollect the supposed impossibility of heavier-than-air flight before it was actually accomplished." Richard van der Riet Wooley, British astronomer, reviewing P.E. Cleator's "Rockets in Space", Nature, March 14, 1936 "Space travel is utter bilge!" -Sir Richard Van Der Riet Wolley, astronomer "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." - Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943 [ debunked in "The Maverick and His Machine"] "Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." - Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949 "I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." - The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957 "Space travel is bunk" -Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of Britain, 1957, two weeks before the launch of Sputnik "There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the Unided States." -T. Craven, FCC Commissioner, 1961 "We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." - Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962. "But what... is it good for?" - Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip. "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." - Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977 "The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible." - A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.) "I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper." - Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in"Gone With The Wind." "A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make." - Response to Debbi Fields' idea of starting Mrs. Fields' Cookies. "If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can't do this." - Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3M "Post-It" Notepads. "So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.' So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.'" - Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and H-P interested in his and Steve Wozniak's personal computer. "You want to have consistent and uniform muscle development across all of your muscles? It can't be done. It's just a fact of life. You just have to accept inconsistent muscle development as an unalterable condition of weight training." - Response to Arthur Jones, who solved the "unsolvable" problem by inventing Nautilus. "640K ought to be enough for anybody." - Bill Gates, 1981 Thanks to email@example.com for passing this 'net-rumor' collaborative email collection along to me.